Twitching fingers can occur secondary to benign muscle spasms, dietary deficiencies, or electrolyte imbalance. Involuntary twitching might also be a symptom of nerve injury or a more serious central nervous system disorder. Numbness or tingling sometimes accompany the twitching. Affected individuals may seek a definitive diagnosis when the twitching increases in severity, progresses beyond the fingers, or is accompanied by pain.
A relatively harmless condition known as benign fasciculation syndrome might begin with twitching fingers, involuntary muscle spasms of the eyelids, limbs, or tongue. The spasms may occur intermittently or continuously and generally cease upon purposeful movement of the affected area. A positive diagnosis typically involves eliminating other causes. Benign fasciculation syndrome is usually treated with beta-blockers and antiseizure medications.
Nutritional deficiencies can alter electrolyte levels, which might cause twitching fingers. Calcium, magnesium or potassium levels that are below normal often produce twitching or muscle cramps. Diets low in calcium or high in carbonated soda consumption can contribute to abnormally low blood calcium levels and subsequent muscle twitching or cramping. Carbonated soda may also deplete magnesium levels, and excessive vomiting, diarrhea, or perspiration can lead to lowered potassium levels.
Thumb and index finger twitching might be symptoms of a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome, which is usually associated with repetitive motion injury. The median nerve passes from the forearm, through the wrist and branches into the thumb, index finger, and middle finger of the hand. Prolonged, continuous motion usually causes wrist tissue swelling, which compresses the nerve and produces twitching, numbness, and tingling.
Imaging studies, blood tests and, possibly, tissue biopsies generally provide a positive diagnosis. Management of the condition involves prevention of further nerve damage. A physician may also prescribe analgesics, splints, or braces to alleviate discomfort. Surgery is sometimes necessary to correct the problem.
Certain disease processes often begin with minor symptoms that include twitching fingers. The neurological disorder known as Parkinson’s disease often starts with minor twitches or tremors but eventually progresses toward complete debilitation. The affliction occurs when dopamine producing cells in the brain begin to undergo a slow deterioration process. Diagnosis usually involves a physical assessment, a family and personal medical history, and imaging studies.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is another degenerative nerve disorder that might produce finger or hand twitching. This devastating disease involves nerve cell death that eventually affects all body systems. Twitching and spasms evolve into muscle weakness and wasting. Physicians confirm the disorder after imaging, and blood and neurological testing rule out other causes.